The Russian River Valley, was formally established as an American Viticultural Area on November 21, 1983. The largest appellation in Sonoma County in the Northern California Wine Country, this rich appellation is just fifty-five short miles north up Highway 101 from the Golden Gate Bridge and 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean by way of the Russian River. With 12,000 acres planted to wine grapes, the majority being pinot noir and chardonnay, the appellation measures approximately 150 square miles and includes over 200 winegrowers and 50 wineries.
Winegrowing in the Russian River Valley is built on a long tradition that has recognized the potential of the valley's fog-cooled climate and well-drained soils for producing some of the finest wines in the world. Winegrowers here include both direct descendents of the Italian-American growers who established farms more than a hundred years ago, as well as many of the leading innovators responsible for the rebirth of premium winemaking in the 1970s and 1980s. Most vineyard are small; four out of five Russian River Valley grapegrowers run family-owned farms of 25 acres or less.
Winegrowers in the Russian River Valley are dedicated to protecting and enriching the sustainable community of the region. Vineyards continue to share the land with farms devoted to sheep, cattle, apples, berries, market gardens, nursery products, Christmas trees, and other animals and crops. Their goal is to nourish the agricultural diversity of the appellation and preserve its environmental resources, while maintaining an authentic farming heritage.